Category: Healing Relationships
How do I know if I have forgiven?
Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27
· Forgiveness is not a one-time act. You will be practicing forgiveness every day, especially when memories attack you.
· Don’t gossip about what was done to hurt you...let it go. If you need help with your own emotions, keep it between you and one trusted, mature friend, and seek counseling
· Don’t threaten the one who wronged you or ask them to make it up to you.
· Desire for them to find their own healing.
· Don’t desire for them to look bad in other’s eyes or continue to be embarrassed or feel guilty for what they did to you in the past.
· Don’t assume that they will change or expect them to change — that is between them and God.
· Don’t expect them to acknowledge that they have done wrong or plead for your forgiveness—it is up to the Holy Spirit to convict them, not you.
· Pray for them to be blessed. Jesus tells us to pray for those who persecute us.
· Be kind to them. Jesus tells us to love our enemies
Try this activity:
1. Make a list of people who are hard for you to forgive. Then write what they did to hurt you.
2. Decide that you will forgive them for what they have done (It doesn’t mean what they have done is OK).
Read Galatians 6:1,2
Think of one thing you can do to help make things right. (Remember, your goal is for your own healing not to change them.)
3. Read Luke 6:27-34 in your Bible.
It tell us to...
- Pray for them.
- Do good, help them, and be kind to them.
- Bless them.
- Love them (See 1 Cor.13:4-8)
4. According to Proverbs 17:9 “Whoever forgives someone’s sin makes a friend.”
Try to make a friend by forgiving. Take your list to God and pray the following: “God, I forgive (name) for (offense).” Pray for one person at a time until you’ve prayed about all the things you need to forgive. Then move on to the next person on your list. If you aren’t sure what to do you may want to ask a Christian friend to help you.
5. After praying to forgive, cross off offences from your list to show that you want to get rid of the past. You may want to share what you have done with a trusted friend.
6. Your prayer is between you and God. The only time you need to go to the person you have forgiven is if you have said or done something to them that you need to make right.
7. Don’t try to change them or expect them to be different. But do keep praying for them.
8. Whenever you are tempted to remember the past and be angry again, go back and pray for God to help you. You can say “Dear God, I have forgiven (Name) but it is hard to forget. I want to love them and treat them how you would want me to treat them. Thank you for helping me to forgive”.
9. Forgiving someone does not necessarily mean a restored relationship. They may not be healthy enough for that.
Forgiveness is a very hard thing for anyone to do. But if we don’t forgive, the result will harm us even more.
There is a difference between forgiving someone, and trusting them and allowing continued hurt. There is a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation.
Not forgiving does not help:
· It will not correct the situation.
· It does not punish or bring justice.
· It will not change the behavior.
· It cannot change the past.
· It keeps you in “victim mode.”
When you forgive, your healing will begin:
· You will no longer be controlled by what others have done.
· Bitterness will no longer harm you.
· You will no longer be the victim.
· You will live in obedience
It has been said that refusing to forgive as a form of punishment is like drinking poison and expecting it to hurt the other person.
Why should I forgive them? You don’t know how badly I was hurt.
Why should I forgive them? They aren’t even sorry.
Why should I forgive them? They keep on hurting me.
Why should I forgive them? They don’t deserve it.
Why should I forgive them? I want them to suffer like they have made me suffer.
Forgiveness is an important step toward
having a good relationship with God:
Matthew 6:14, 15
“...if you forgive others for the things they do wrong, then your Father in heaven will also forgive you for the things you do wrong. But if you don’t forgive the wrongs of others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrong things you do.”
Notice: This does not say anything about forgetting. Instant amnesia is not part of forgiveness